The Dears’ Patrick Krief finds peace in his solo project
Everyone has something that gets them up in the morning. Passion, be it for work or for family, is what drives us. For Patrick Krief, that one thing is music.
“If I’m walking and my shoes are making noise, I’m hearing rhythm.”
Krief returns to Windsor after a summer of touring his first solo album, One Hundred Thousand Pieces. Moody and stripped down, One Hundred Thousand Pieces marks the end of a personal journey of discovery for the guitarist. Before the album, Krief found himself struggling with his own creative identity.
“To put it very mildly it was kind of an existential crisis,” Krief said. “It was asking the why and what am I doing with my life.”
Since 2003, Krief had been playing with
acclaimed Montreal rock outfit The Dears. But in 2008, he left the band over reported creative differences.
“I never thought about (whether my time away impacted the album),” said Krief. “But you can hear that a guy in The Dears made this album. I needed time to nurture that identity.”
The album was written and recorded in between time spent on the road. Unlike a lot of his peers, Krief has no problem scribbling down tunes while crossing Canada. “I love being on the road. At the end of the day you pick up a guitar and start strumming it.”
It was in the process of writing and recording the album that Krief realized he was working through his own creative issues. “It gave me some clarity and gave me some of the answers I was looking for because the album itself was a struggle.”
The album became a validation of his existence as a musician, because, as Krief puts it, being a musician isn’t a choice he can make. “Part of the realization was that music is something I have to accept as my reality … I can’t escape music, [so I] have to nurture it.”
One Hundred Thousand Pieces is Krief laid bare, separated from his identity with The Dears. “It would be hard for me to accept it if the album was a flop or if people thought it was shit,” he mused. “I felt like this one I would take personally because it’s so personal.”
Luckily the album has been well received. Krief’s even picked up a few new fans along the way. “People have come to shoes who had never heard of The Dears. I wondered how the hell they heard about it!?”
The part of his life with The Dears has also reached a balancing point. Krief rejoined the band in 2010 and has found that his new solo project has allowed him to make peace with his role as guitarist. “In the Dears, I don’t have to be the front man so I don’t have to be on every night. It’s more liberating that I can focus on my corner and focus on what I have to do as a guitarist.”
But with One Hundred Thousand Pieces there is also more responsibility on his end. “This is my baby and it’s more rewarding because people respond that. But it’s more responsibility because my brain is divided into five pieces of the band.”
There’s much more to come for Krief. The Dears continue to play and tour, and One Hundred Thousand Pieces will be released in the United Stated in early 2013. Plus, he’s always looking forward to the next project. “I’m always worried about putting out the next music, but if I have to make a record next week I’ll be ready.”
For now, the guitarist is looking forward to wrapping up his latest tour with a Sept. 22 show at Windsor’s Phog Lounge. “There’s something special that happens when you do a long run and that last show is an extreme relief.”